Travel Kolkata

Travel Kolkata Kolkata is the second largest city of India. It is a cosmopolitan city. It is situated on the banks of the river Hooghly. The city is an excellent portrait of architectural monuments and palaces of historic importance, hence known as  “City of Palaces” also.

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Kolkata City, a 17th century village,  is not an ancient city but it is the expansionist ambitions of the British when they have chosen it for their trade settlements. It was selected because its strategic location that is protected by the Hooghly River to the west, by creek to the north and by salt lakes to the east. It is one of the four metropolitan cities of India along with Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai. Kolkata has some the finest British Raj edifices built in a variety of styles. A city of Joy and Love, Grandeur and Glory, Kolkata is full of life and bustle verging on the traditional occupations with modern outlook. Kolkota has the imprints of the British architecture, as the city was one of the main administrative blocks under the British rule. At present it is a major commercial city consisting of industrial and corporate houses. The city becomes a lively place during Durga Puja. Film Festival and music conferences are organized at regular intervals to encourage cultural genius of India.

KOLKATA SIGHTSEEING PLACES

Fort William: It was constructed in 1781 by Robert Clive at the cost of two million pounds after the unfortunate happenings during the Plassey war in 1757, Siraj Ud Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal attacked on the old fort and defeated the British in which many British soldiers and their families were killed. The new fort was initiated after this defeat. It is situated at the banks of river Hooghly and named after King William III of England. The basic purpose of setting up Calcutta Fort William was to prevent attacks from Muslim invaders. A garrison of ten thousand can be accommodated here and six hundred guns can be mounted within its walls. Inside the fort premises there is a church, a market, a post and telegraph office, a cinema, swimming pool, boxing stadium, parade grounds, football grounds and a firing range. Today this fort is the property of the Indian Army with a provision to accommodate 10,000 army personnel. The fort still stands as before, except the St. Peter’s Church which no longer exists. The fort is built in a shape of an octagon. The fort is still in use and visitors are allowed inside with special permits. The area around the fort is a very large patch of green known as the Maidan (ground). This Maidan serves as the lung of Kolkata and stretches 1 km in width and 3 km in length.

Victoria Memorial: It is a huge white-marble structure that was built in the memory of Queen Victoria by Lord Curzon. The foundation stone of the memorial was laid down in the year 1906, by the ‘Prince of Wales’ King George V. It was opened to the public in 1921. It is a wonderful example of the Western architecture that represents an amazing fusion of British and Mughal architecture. Today, Victoria memorial is one of the finest art museums in Kolkata. It is a 184 ft tall edifice that was constructed on 64 acres of land. White Makrana marbles were used in the construction of Victoria Memorial Hall. The memorial has galleries that exhibit rare collections of Coins, Paintings, Stamps, Sculptures, Arms and other Historic Artifacts. Moreover, there is a rich library that contains nearly 10,674 books and periodicals. The collection of rare books in the library dates back to 1870.

Howrah Bridge: It is located over Hoogli River in Kolkata, India. It is said to be the busiest bridge of the world catering to around 100,000 vehicles and innumerable pedestrians. It connects the city of Howrah to Kolkata. It is popularly known as ‘Rabindra Setu’ that was set up in 1874. It stands on two 270 feet high pillars. This is an excellent example of engineering techniques of the early 20th century. The entire bridge is 450 meters long cantilever truss bridge that was constructed without using any nuts and bolts. Though, earlier it had a tram route, but presently, it is serving mainly as a road bridge. Howrah bridge has got two sister bridges also, namely, Vidyasagar Setu, Vivekananda Setu and the newly built engineering marvel Nivedita Setu that are situated at different points over the Hoogly river. The best way to enjoy its stately beauty is to view it from the middle of the river. This bridge has become an important symbol of Kolkata.

Marble Palace: It is a must visit tourist attraction in Kolkata City. It was constructed with Italian marbles in 1835 by one of the richest landlords of Bengal Raja Rajendra Mullick Bahadur. It is an exquisite art gallery. It is located close to the Tagore’s residence in the northern part of the city and a worth watching attraction. Marble Palace has an interior courtyard, completes with a throne room that among one of the heritage buildings in Kolkata. It is one of its kinds that consist of exquisite pieces of arts, sculptures, pictures and oil paintings inclusive of Chinese and Japanese porcelain. Its major highlight includes the Reuben’s masterpieces. You can also find the original paintings of Rembrandt, Reynolds and Van Goyen etc. It also has a zoo, where you can find different kinds of rare birds and animals.

Eden Gardens: It was built in 1864 and is the second largest stadium in the world after Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia. It has now become one of the tourist attractions of Kolkata over the period of time. It is the oldest cricket ground in India and also one of the reputed cricket grounds in the world. This cricket stadium has been host to many historical cricket matches. The first ever first-class match was played in 1917-18, first one day international match was played in 1987 and the first test match was played in 1934. It can accommodate 120,000 spectators at a time.

Saheed Minar: This 165 ft. memorial was initially known as Octerloney Monument. It was named after its founder, Sir David Ochterlony. This magnificent monument was erected in 1828 to mark its founder’s victory in Nepal War during 1814-1816. Its foundation is based on the Egyptian style, whereas their domes follow Syrian and Turkish designs respectively. It was renamed ‘Sahid Minar’ in 1969, to honor the martyrs of the freedom struggle of India. Now it has become a popular place to held political meetings, public rallies and seminars. The first convocation meeting at ‘Shaheed Minar’was held in 1931 that was presided over by Rabindranath Tagore. You may enjoy an excellent view of Kolkata city from its top.

Writers Building: The construction of this building began in 1690. It was named so since it served as the dwelling place for the junior writers of the East India Company. The new Gothic structure was built during the tenure of Lt. Governor Ashley Eden in 1877. The present building is located at the northern end of Dalhousie Square. At present, it serves as the Secretariat of West Bengal Government. This huge building is also known as ‘Mahakaran’, where all the important documents and records of state government are preserved.

Birla Planetarium: It was constructed by the Birla Education Trust in 1962; this single-storied circular structure is one of the largest of its kind in the world. It is one of the largest museums in Asia. The central dome of the planetarium, with a diameter of 27 m, is an imitation of the Buddhist stupa at Sanchi. It provides a parlance where astronomical presentations take place. It provides useful piece of information about our solar system, galaxies, life span of stars, space, planets and other heavenly bodies in the most interactive manner via audio video aids. You may enjoy regular shows here that are conducted in English, Hindi other languages. Its astronomy gallery has huge collection of fine paintings and celestial models of renowned astronomers. This planetarium organizes special shows during solar and lunar eclipses.

National Library: It was inaugurated by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad on 1st February 1953 and opened for the public soon after. It is the largest library in India that is supported by the Dept of Culture, Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Government of India. It has a huge collection of books and periodicals received from different parts of the country that is well equipped with books in almost all Indian languages. There are separate language divisions that process the information for their readers in their respective native languages. Main language divisions consist of Hindi, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Sindhi, Telugu, Urdu many more. There is a separate division for children that cater to their information and recreation needs. There are no special criteria for membership of Kolkata national library. Any person who is above the age of 18 can become its member. However, to avail the facilities of reading room and lending, separate membership is required.

Indian Museum: It was built in 1874, has a beautiful structure. The oldest museum in India, it houses a rare collection of artefacts. The entrance to the museum has an original Lion Capitol, the national symbol of India. The museum is open all days of the week except Monday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nicco Park: It is one of the biggest amusement parks in India that was opened in 1991 and situated at Salt Lake. It covers an area of about 40-acre land. It is popularly known as Jheel Meel also. It is considered as the Disneyland of West Bengal that has wonderful games and rides. Its most recent addition is the Cave ride that is very interesting and adventurous. It draws huge crowds on the weekends. It is a feast for eyes for nature lovers. Its main highlights include the beautiful rose garden and the food park, where you can enjoy the mouthwatering variety of dishes. It also enjoys the status of being the first amusement park of the world that has obtained ISO 9002 certification from a reputed European Certifying Authority. The park is open to the public from 10.00 AM to 8.00 PM everyday during the winter and 11.00 AM to 9.00 PM everyday during the rest of the year.

Botanical Garden: It is one of the oldest botanical gardens in India. It was developed by the East India Company in 1787. It is located on the west bank of the Hoogly River that stretches 1 km along the river and occupy 109 hectares of land. The main attraction of the garden is the 200 years old giant Banyan Tree, claimed to have the second largest canopy in the world. It is the world’s largest, having a circumference of 330 meters. The Palm House in the centre of gardens is also worth a visit. The gardens are over the Howrah Bridge, 19 km by bus from Chowringhee. This garden has variety of plants, palms and orchids that would take you close to nature. You may also see some rare trees and plants. It has a library where one would get a huge collection of botany books. In the year 1793 William Roxburg, a botanist, brought plants from all over the country and formed herbarium. This herbarium is now The Central National Herbarium of Botanical Survey of India. The gardens are open from sunrise to sunset. Although weekends are crowded but rest of the days are peaceful and pleasant.

Belur Math: It is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1897, a chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. It is located on the west bank of Hooghly River, Belur that is one of the significant institutions in Kolkta. It is the headquarters of the Ramkrishna Mission. Ramakrishna, an Indian philosopher, preached the unity of all religions. This mission now has branches all over India. Its international headquarters was founded in 1899. It is supposed to represent a church, a mosque and a temple, depending on how you look at it. The temple is notable for its architecture that fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions. It is open daily from 6.30 to 11 am and from 3.30 to 7 pm, and admission is free.